By Darrel Mager
Australian Ku Klux Klan founder Peter Coleman says that if the KKK came to New Zealand it would be packed with Maori, because they share the Klan's concerns.
Mr Coleman, who runs a Sydney mail-order business selling Nazi regalia and claims to be the Australian branch's "exalted Cyclops," said yesterday that while it might seem strange to have a dark-skinned race in a white-supremacist group, there was room for Maori members in the Klan.
He said he had set up KKK branches in three Australian states but at this stage had no plans to spread further.
"If we did actually set up in New Zealand, we would expect to get a lot of Maori members because they are also concerned about things like immigration and don't like the Asians coming in and taking over things."
He said that belief was evident in Maori politicians such as Winston Peters, who was known internationally for his anti-immigration statements.
"Every country has its different Klans and there's room for Maori," said Mr Coleman.
Mr Peters said he was not going to respond to "nutcases" and the Minister of Maori Affairs, Tau Henare, said Mr Coleman was talking rubbish.
"If he came here, there would be a lot of Maori at his first meeting, but it wouldn't be to join up. It would be to put him in a taxi and escort him out of the country."
Mr Coleman said there was already a Klan somewhere in the South Island. He was also aware of the neo-Nazi group Unit 88, whose Auckland operations were exposed in the New Zealand Herald two years ago, but had no contact with them.
Colin Ansell, leader of the Auckland-based Fascist Union and a mentor to the now-defunct Unit 88, said he had heard of a New Zealand group linked to the KKK that was known as the Silent Brotherhood.
Professor Paul Spoonley, of Massey University, said there were KKK-type groups here but none had official links to the United States Klans.
The Minister of Immigration, Tuariki Delamere, said Mr Coleman's entry could be barred if he was considered a danger to national security or public order.
By Darrel Mager